Steel Products Prices North America

October Apparent Steel Supply Rises to 9.6 Million Tons

Written by Brett Linton

October apparent steel supply increased to 9,557,437 net tons, according to government data released late last week. Apparent steel supply is calculated by adding domestic steel shipments and finished U.S. steel imports, then subtracting total U.S. steel exports.

October apparent steel supply saw a 201,816 ton or 2.2 percent increase compared to the same month one year ago. This change was due to an increase in domestic shipments of 463,977 tons or 6.0 percent and a decrease in total exports of 264,792 tons or 29.6 percent, mostly counteracted by a decrease in finished imports of 526,954 tons or 20.7 percent.

The net trade balance between U.S. steel imports and exports was a surplus of 2,646,355 tons imported in October, up 393,992 tons or 17.5 percent from the prior month, and up 969,401 tons or 57.8 percent from one year ago. Foreign steel imports accounted for 21.1 percent of apparent steel supply in October, up from 20.6 percent in the prior month, and down from 27.2 percent one year ago.

Compared to the prior month when apparent steel supply was 9,101,986 tons, October supply rose by 455,451 tons or 5.0 percent. This was due to an increase in domestic shipments of 363,009 tons or 4.6 percent and an increase in finished imports of 138,671 tons or 7.4 percent, slightly lessened by a decrease in total exports of 46,229 tons or 7.9 percent.

The table below shows year-to-date totals for each statistic over the last five years. The 2018 data was previously steady to higher compared to the prior two years, but became mixed over the summer months.

To see an interactive graphic of our Apparent Steel Supply history (example below), visit the Apparent Steel Supply page in the Analysis section of the SMU website. If you need any assistance logging in or navigating the website, contact us at or 800-432-3475.

Brett Linton

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